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Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
Rue Du Chêne, 5
phone: +32 (0)25 11 92 62
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
August 2007: Our first afternoon and last evening in Brussels were spent at the Poechenellekelder.
Incredibly easy to find it is located just down the well marked Rue Du Chêne, which extends in a direct line from the Grand Place. One minute's walk will take you to the infamous statue which has become logo of the city, the Mannekin Pis. Across from which you will easily notice an outside patio of 15 or so tables as well as the large sign which boldly boast the name you cannot pronounce.
At the door you'll be greeted with three chalkboards that showcase their selection of beers "blonde, ambree, and brune" as well as an extensive list of lambics. The selection isn't incredibly large, more than 50 in any case as well as 5 or so on tap. It does, however, hold a lot in depth; their selection of lambics especially which offers the guezes and krieks of all the authentic lambic makers (De Cam, Cantillon, Boon, Drie Fonteinen, so on) The prices I wouldn't consider cheap, but I would consider reasonable.
I believe what actually drew us in was our noses. The place smelt incredible and turned our appetites on like a switch. Misleadingly and a little to our disappointment the food menu is quite small - I believe 3 or so things (lasagna, spaghetti and in the winter only - soup de jour). Fortunately, however, the food came very quickly, in very fair portion and was very tasty! They also carry an essential variety of 8 or cheeses.
As you walk up a small winding staircase into the first of two rooms within, you're guided the whole way by cases of Belle Vue Gueze 1992 (which they still offer at a price of 40 euros) and stacked crates of empty Westvleteren bottles (the top one always missing one bottle so as to tease you, leaving you to wonder "maybe they have just one left for me still!") There are Jeroboams of Chimay and Duvel with years of candle wax melted down the sides. The ceiling too has crates of beer hanging upside down. The rest of the ambiance is quite kitschy, but openly kitschy. Beer memorabilia, a collection of Mannekin Pis replicas, collectors outfits that once adorned the little boy, and (an almost eerie) collection of marionettes and life size puppets. (Beware, the owner can control them via strings behind the bar. I've seen him scare people by dong it - it's quite, quite funny!) The music was always well suited and contributed to the ambiance. It consisted often of a "jazzy" nature but varied from rag-time piano, to 1930's blues, to the new Tony Bennett compilation.
The environment is really what pleased me the most. (Granted, my Drie Fontenein Kriek was exciting) but there was a liveliness and energy to the people within. Strikingly there were no tourists! The two tables beside us were business people, conducting their work meeting over a round of eight and nine percent beers (oh, the culture there!) The tables behind us were combined to fit a large family, 12 or so people with every generation (right down to the well behaved 2 year old) present and in good spirits.
Our impression with the service was initially not great. Our first visit, at lunch time, saw the place go from quiet to busy rather quickly. There was only one waiter serving well over 25 people. Needless to say getting his attention was not easy, and we were left waiting quite, quite long for our second drink. Our second visit produced the same problem, this time an evening crew of 2 waiters to serve approximately 50 people (we'd soon remark this seems to be custom in Belgium to overwork the servers.)
That second trip I eventually had the pleasure of talking in detail with our waiter about their selection, and of Belgian beer culture in general. He was incredibly knowledgeable and took great pride in his establishment and the quality and selection of what they offered.
I was left with a very positive feel form the Poechenellekelder. There is good number and immense quality to their beer list, making selecting something both too hard and too easy. The atmosphere is both social and cozy, and for the most part there is a curious absence of tourists. With it's location so conveniently located close to the Grand Place (and across from the Mannekin Pis) there is no excuse really not to find time to stop in for at least a drink or two. I certainly plan to my next visit.
08-20-2007 13:28:21 |
More by biegaman
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
After a failed attempt to visit Bier Circus (they were closed), we strolled on down the hill to try the "new and improved" Poechenellekelder (according to Tim Webb).
We tried several very nice beers: Gouyasse Tripel, Forestine (a spruce beer, very nice if you like that sort of thing), and Kapittel Prior ON TAP (Lovely, dark, sweet, with that Abbey-something) (also a sort of unremarkable St. Martin Brune). We agree that this was a better selection than on our last visit in 2003.
A nice and convenient option. Not in my top 3 destinations, but a fine stop along the way if you have time for a slightly more extensive bar tour. We were here mid-day so we had no smoke and fine (if naive) service from the bar back (we were the only people inside).
08-18-2007 15:36:36 |
More by 4thoseabout2bock
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Half-unconscious from jet lag our first night in Brussels, my traveling companions and I ended up here on Tim Webb's recommendation for a drink and light dinner. We liked it so much we came back twice in just a few days.
Why did we like it so much?
1) Service. Our first night we were basically out of our minds, but our English-speaking waiter was able to provide exceptional food and drink recommendations based on complex criteria. Tourists pack the place from about 6-8, but even then once we got our minds adjusted to the Belgian way of drinking -- slow and steady -- the waiters had no problem keeping our glasses full.
2) Selection. Rather than 2000 beers, they had 200 really good ones. Some favorites included an Taras Boulba, Oerbier, Hercule Stout, aged Orval, and gueuzes from Girardin, Drie Fonteinen and Cantillion.
3) Atmosphere. Lots of personality, and not too smoky as long as you avoid the inner room. And I liked the patio, too.
The Brussels I visited felt like one big, decrepit, ugly, beautiful tourist trap. Within that, Poechenellekelder and the Cantillion brewery were the only sources of beer authenticity I was able to find. Thumbs up.
06-25-2007 20:03:57 |
More by tsmo
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$$
I would avoid this place at all costs. It is an overpriced tourist trap. They do have some good beer, that is true. That is, IF you get served. The location makes everything pricy and it is crowded as all hell. I left, walked under a kilometer, and had great beer at a less crowded, cheaper place that actually served me within 20 min. Would NEVER go here again!
As I said, the selection is the ONLY thing that saves this place. They have many beers that you will not find at many other places. However, there are many places around that have a better selection, they are just not next to Maniken Pis (spelling?)
01-15-2007 13:04:55 |
More by jeffaz02t
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
My last stop in Brussels, and it was a good one. In a location few tourists could miss, this is a great looking beer bar full of puppets and beer stuff, but also full of tables, leaving little room for maneuver. I was sucked in by the long list of Christmas beers on the chalkboard outside (in early December), but was truly intrigued when I saw the case of (empty) Westy bottles at the bottom of the little staircase one must ascend to get to the two main drinking areas. Seating for perhaps 100, with another small room down the backstairs on the way to the toilets. The very small bar with no stools is in the far corner of the second room, and is so covered in various decorations that it is almost impossible to see the bartender. Pop and rock on the sound system. When I entered at about 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, I was the only person in the place. I took a table right next to the bar, and STILL had trouble getting the bartender/waiter's attention to place an order. The beers came out quick, though!
I counted 8 taps, all top quality Belgian. I lost count on the bottles, but would guess something like 50-75, almost all of which were also top quality Belgian. They seemed to have a glass for everything, and brought the beers out in good condition and at the right temperature. Perhaps the pour was a bit too hard, as the heads were frequently three fingers or more, but that might just add to the atmospherics. Prices were high - no surprise given the tourist potential of the location. Still, a great place to reliquify after watching the boy relieve himself for a while. (By the by, I guess size really doesn't matter, as the boy is very, very small.).
12-06-2006 21:01:01 |
More by Globetrotter
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | $$
This place is a breeze to find if you just look across from the Mannekin Pis. We first went inside on a hot September day. The inside was an ecclectic mix of puppets, Singer sewing machines and beer. You had to reach the inside via a spiral stair. After over 5 minutes of not being waited and sweating to death we decided to head outside.
We plopped down outside and basically received the same service as inside, none. After another 10 minutes or so we ordered a beer and it took another 5-10 min to arrive. 25+ minutes without a beverage on a hot September day is just not the way to run a business. Once served payment was requested which was a great idea since I doubt anyone could stand to stick around and wait for a second round.
The beer list was pretty good as I recall, I penned a note that it was, but did not make a notation of how many drafts and beers that were available. I'd drop back in if walking by, but would not suggest based upon the service that this is a place to seek out.
Visited on September 14, 2006.
10-20-2006 21:08:01 |
More by GCBrewingCo
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
My buddy Arvid recommended this place, and I'm glad he did. It's relatively easy to get to. Just follow signs to the Mannequin Pis and look across the street. The vibe in the bar is friendly and mellow. It wasn't very smokey when I was there, and they do have an outside seating area if you want to watch 17,000 Japanese tourists take their picture in front of the Mannequin Pis.
Really good beer selection, and the staff can help you choose what you want if you tell them what you're looking for. A really nice place to stop.
08-21-2006 18:26:58 |
More by DaveFL1976
United Kingdom (England)
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
Full of tourists and hanging things, it is still worth finding. The bar is upstairs the toilets and puppet theater downstairs.
The drinking area is cramped, but fun, the ceiling being full of dangling bits adds to the feeling of overcrowding. However the beer choice is above average for a purely tourist pub. The quality of my beers were also fine on both visits.
If going to see a little boy with his penis out having a pee is your thing, then you may as well cross the junction and have a beer in this place!
08-14-2006 14:34:38 |
More by BlackHaddock
United Kingdom (England)
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
This is place is literally within spitting distance from where I live. It's become my local this summer. Being right next to the Manneken Pis, it's quite easy to get to, which means that there are a lot of tourists there in the summer. Whether they're looking at the statue or having a drink, it can get a bit crowded.
The selection is ok. This place is no Delirium, but there can be only one. There's less seating than Delirium, but it's quite nice not having a lot of bratty teenagers around on the weekend. The service is good as far as helping you in your selection if it's not too busy. There's usually a deal on for the beers on tap or 'beer of the week'. This week was Rochefort 6, so not too bad a deal. The food looks like it comes in healthy portions, but is a bit pricy. You're better off getting your fill in a proper restaurant or kebab stand. For after drinking food, don't miss Fritland by the Bourse.
All in all, Poechenellekelder's not a bad establishment by any means in Brussels. Definitely worth a drink or too.
07-26-2006 10:16:59 |
More by TheFightingCock
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
Literally across the road from the Mannekin Pis statue. I stumbled across this place while doing my touristy walking around the Grand Place area.
The inside decore is modern kitsch, with all sorts of marionettes and such handing from the ceiling. Being it was a beautiful summer day (~23/75 degrees) I choose to sit out on the patio and watch the tourists go by. Being back in the more narrow byways its nice and shady in the afternoon too.
The server was friendly and chatted with me about Chouffe based on my selection of the Houblen Double IPA Trippel. The Chouffe came with a Magic Chouffe tulip and the server did a commendable job of pouring since the Houblon was pretty lively. Selection is good from an American POV with about 60 or so choices. Prices seemed a bit high tho.
Definitely worth a stop in while doing the tourist thing while visiting Brussels.
06-28-2006 16:36:46 |
More by jasonm
Poechenellekelder in Brussels, Belgium